Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category

Yesterday I hit 50k. I wrapped up my novel because the truth is, if I decide to revise, I’ll be expanding that way. There’s a lot of thin parts where I came to scene and then realized I didn’t know where it needed to go, so I jumped to the next one. I haven’t decided if I’m going to revise. I don’t write fluffy books. For me, writing is cathartic for my depression. It is a way for me to put my struggle in a tangible form and that makes my writing something that exposes me a great deal. Not to mention it makes my stories dark because depression is dark and it’s messy. I sanitize a lot of my experience for other people primarily because I’m not sure how someone will take it. It’s exhausting to be vulnerable with another person and then have them respond callously. It makes me feel incredibly “other” and alone. It is, unfortunately, something that happens a good bit of the time. People don’t mean to be, they just don’t understand. When I’m in a better place, I can cope through and help educate someone how to interact with me (and hopefully others like me).

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But, that means my novel is much darker than I think most people would expect and so if I do revise, I’ll probably publish under a pen name and tell virtually no one I know that I wrote a book.

However, it does feel good to have hit 50k. I feel like I accomplished something for me.

And Jamberry? I decided to start selling it. Jamberry is something else I do because of my depression. Sometimes, when things hurt so much I can’t breathe, I steal away to a quiet place in my house and I do my nails. I pick colors and then whenever I’m out and feeling overwhelmed, I look at my nails and while I don’t feel happy, I feel a little better. So I wanted the discount :) I guess that means I’ll have to update my Jamberry review post to say that I’m selling because I like to be transparent. I don’t know if I’ll ever have more than a few parties, but at least I’ll be able to keep up with my therapeutic habit.

 

Halfway to 50K (Notes from NaNo)

Posted: November 12, 2014 in NaNoWriMo
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I managed to hit 25k three days before the middle of the month.

This year’s experience has been significantly different for me. Usually I agonize through the first half. I groan, I moan, I wonder why I’m doing this. I check my word count obsessively to see if I’ve hit the magical 1,667. Then when I get halfway, I sail on to the end with slightly less stormy waters. This year though, I plowed through, no rain clouds anywhere to be seen. Then last night I realized the story I thought I was telling isn’t the story I’m actually telling.

Cue a writing crisis.

I started plotting out this story a couple of months ago. It started with a very simple idea and I thoughtfully added a few more details. In the past I’ve had a detailed outline and this year, life is so crazy, that I settled for a sketch. I knew the characters, I knew the setting, I knew in general what I wanted to say, and I knew how it would end. I tweaked up until NaNo started and then I dove in.

I haven’t been afraid this time to make changes on the fly. I originally had my “voice” be a third person limited from my female protagonist’s point of view. I didn’t like her voice though. So next scene I switched to my male protagonist and I discovered that he’s the one sailing this ship. This isn’t her story, this is his story.

Last night I realize that the story I thought I was telling about him isn’t the one I’m telling about him. That means my second half is going to look significantly different from my first half and I’m already having heart palpitations with regards to revising. There’s going to have to be significant rewrites. I’m starting think this is going to be another novel that sits on my hard drive untouched.

That said, I intend to finish. I guess I didn’t quite expect my big wall to show up when I reached the top of the mountain.

50K or bust!

Past 10k (Notes from NaNo)

Posted: November 5, 2014 in Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing
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Day 5. 12,000 words.

I’m really surprised by how well this year is going. The previous two years that I participated left me struggling each day to get to the recommended word count. I constantly checked my count to see if I’d reached the coveted 1,667 words for the day. I wrote each word with a level of anxiety that I would describe as often story-breaking. I had every judgment in the book floating around in my head. It didn’t matter that I knew that no book comes from a writer’s fingertips in pristine, publishable condition. No, despite knowing that I agonized over every sentence.

I pretty much expected the same this year. And I had it, day one… day two… paranoia set in. I was ready for it. I pulled out all of my therapy skills (thank you awesome therapist) and I got down to business. Inner critic started yammering? Non-judgmental stance. My story is neither good nor bad, it simply is and it is a first draft. I kept taking my thoughts back there every time she reared her ugly head to tell me about all the ways my story was crappy. I came to this fight expecting to battle her at least until 25k.

Imagine my surprise to find that she’s decided to (mostly) shut her trap.

I don’t know if this will be the novel. Y’know, the one I decide to endure a myriad of rejection letters for (or the one I decide to self-publish). I do know I feel very differently about this story in the past. Whether that’s me getting a grip on my DBT skills or if that’s because it’s just a better story, I can’t tell you.

But here I am. 12k in and looking forward to the halfway mark. See you then.

Today was the first day of National Novel Writing Month. It’s my third time doing it.

All in all, I’m off to a decent start. My goal for the weekend is 5k and I’m at 2100 words. Not too shabby and yet a long way from 50k. I’ve done it before (twice) and I have no reason to think I can’t get there again barring unforeseen events like maybe aliens (aliens would be a good excuse not to finish right?).

For me, writing 50k in a month is what I imagine it’s like to run a marathon. Sitting down and writing this much requires dedication. I know from experience that other people look at bit askance at me when I talk about writing a novel – either because it seems like I’m insane (possibly) or because they think, “If you’re not published, who cares?”

Or maybe that’s just my own inner critic (she’s loud).

National Novel Writing Month is therapeutic for me. My depression really starts to kick into high gear as the days get shorter and darker and that’s saying something given that if people knew my thoughts I’m pretty sure most would want to hospitalize me or at least remove all the sharp objects from my house (no point in being shy about it – this is just a fact of living with the type of depression I have). I have so many days where I can’t get out of bed. So many days when I feel like I’m a failure at life even if all the facts point to something different.

Writing 50k in a month is my way of looking my depression straight in the eyes and saying, “Not today.” It’s a goal that gets me up and gets me doing something that feels like an accomplishment for me.

I felt that today. When I punched in my first word count update, I felt my depression quiet a little bit. I heard my inner critic snort and start rifling around for the really good insults.

I’m going to get to 50k because I like to win and I like to be right. And writing 50k is me getting sassy. It’s me fighting back.

Maybe I’ll write a third novel that I don’t care to revise and publish. Or maybe I will. I don’t know but that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m not doing this for anyone except me.

But… I’m writing about it because it is a journey. Because just like I can’t fight my depression alone, I can’t reach 50k alone. I want encouragement, I want shouts of support, I want other voices telling me I can do this and to understand why I’m doing it.

God designed me with depression and I don’t know why. At the same time, He also made me incredibly stubborn. It drives everyone crazy but it gets me out of bed. It gets me fighting even after I think I’ve got nothing left to fight with.

And it’ll get me to 50k.

Well. Here’s hoping anyway :)

National Novel Writing Month

Posted: October 30, 2014 in Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing
Tags: ,

I love to write.

I’ve been writing in some form or fashion since I could hold a pencil and put it on paper.

For me, writing isn’t necessarily done with a goal in mind. I might try to publish one day or all my writings might sit on my hard drive. I write for the same reason I breathe – I have to. If I go too long without writing, I feel like I’m mentally constipated (yup, I just gave you that image, you’re welcome).

The hardest periods for me are post-baby. Trying to write with a little one needing your every attention is hard. Freaking hard. It’s only slightly harder than writing with a toddler (oh look, I have one of those). That said, after taking a year off, I’ve decided to jump back in the saddle and what better way to do that than to try to write 50,000 words in a month?

The other reason I’m taking on this challenge now is because I need to do something to affirm me as a person. I’ve been mom and wife for a year while my identity has taken a backseat to everyone’s needs. This is just what happens when there are children involved and you do what I do (homeschool, cloth diaper, feed all the people).

NaNoWin2011So this is for me. I need to stretch myself in a way that stretches myself and I need to feel an accomplishment that means something to me. Some people run marathons, I write marathons (because man I hate running – all those genes went to my pretty awesome little sister who does IronMan competitions and smokes it – I am so proud of her – shout out to you Heather!). I don’t know what the crap a runner’s high feels like; all I ever felt while running was the bewilderment of why I was running when there were no zombies chasing me. I imagine though it feels a bit like what I feel when I hit the 25k mark on my manuscript. I’m like “Hell yeah! Halfway! In your face novel!” and I feel practically euphoric as I watch words appear on the screen.

Maybe this year I’ll write a story I want to share with the world. Maybe not. But I will write a story that I want to write. If you do NaNo, why do you do it?

Here’s what I’ll be doing this year:
– Paper plates, plastic cups, disposable flatware because something has got to give and that’s the dishes.
– Extra pizza nights. Because hello, pizza.
– Maybe an extra bottle of wine ;)
– A rough outline of what I want to write (although normally I’m a hardcore outliner, this year I decided to relax a bit and only do a rough sketch).
– Clean PJ pants.
– A conversation with my fantastic husband who is supporting me in this endeavor and willing to help me make it to the end.

See you on the other side!

I love NaNoWriMo. This year I was super disappointed because I couldn’t participate (really, I barely have time to breathe these days – baby, homeschooling six year old, Thanksgiving, Christmas, never-ending laundry… yeah). I’m doubly disappointed because for me, writing is like air. I have to do it regardless of whether I share or not or even whether or not it’s any good. So I try to find moments to write whether crafting a Facebook status (it counts!) or typing up a blog post with typos (or extraneous commas).

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So this year I’m pouring my need into my eldest who is doing it even if he doesn’t realize it :) (If I were on top of things there would have been a chart and coloring and blah blah blah, but my kids are alive and fed so that’s a victory in my book). Two hundred words is the goal (about ten words a day if we stick with weekdays).

Right now we’ve got Batman, Robin, Frodo, Sam, and Han Solo captured by Stormtrooper pigs (a la Star Wars Angry Birds). Ah yes, my son is writing his first bit of fanfiction. I’ll even bet it’s better than Twilight.

I’m hoping that as the years go by, I can foster his love of story-telling, teach him how to organize his thoughts, and show him the satisfaction of finishing a goal.

I remember when it used to be easier to encourage a sense of accomplishment…

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Yes! I finally have you, Toucan!